By Amanda Hoover, news editor

For those searching for co-ops and careers, a renovated version of myNEU COOL, set to launch its first phase next month, is designed to modernize the process – making it easier and more efficient for both employers and students to find positions.

The current myNEU COOL co-op and career development portals, which have each been in place for more than 10 years, are receiving a redesign. Orbis Communications, a provider of co-op and career information systems based in Dundas, Canada, has been selected to provide the services for Northeastern.

“Students, faculty, staff and employers all expect modern online functionality,” Anthony Armelin, director of information systems for co-op and career development, said. “We’re looking to kick things up a notch and offer more modern features.”

The current systems were designed prior to Web 2.0, a term that was coined to refer to the second generation of the World Wide Web in 2004. Before, the web did not allow for extensive collaboration and information sharing online. Since then, communication via the Internet has become much more advanced, and Armelin said the redesign will reflect that change.

“It looks nicer, it’s easier to use,” Armelin said. “We had a session with a first group of students in a lab last week and the feedback was generally positive. I think all of the students who were using it felt it was certainly a major step forward.”

The new system will combine both myNEU COOL and the career development portal into one easy-to-access system. This will allow students who are applying for co-ops to see what full-time career opportunities could be available further down the road.

The redesign process began about two years ago, following student feedback that the programs were outdated. From there, the Student Government Association (SGA), along with Armelin, began to look into other providers.

“When we were looking at [different systems], we were looking at the usability of it, taking into account what students had said about the old COOL,” Eric Tyler, a junior information science and business dual major and vice president for academic affairs within SGA, said.

Students issued complaints with the dated layout, frequent system logouts and the confusing search process, Tyler, who is currently running for SGA student body president and played a role in bringing student opinions into the process, said.

Armelin said that the redesign will be rolled out over a 15-month period, beginning with the career development portal this May that will assist graduating seniors in exploring job options. A second phase, which will release the new myNEU COOL to students seeking co-ops, is scheduled to become available to a selected number of co-op faculty and students in July for those seeking spring co-ops in 2016. After that period, Armelin said they hope to make the system available to all students, co-op faculty and employers in January 2016.

In addition to a more modern appearance, the system will also have new features. A dashboard will help students to manage messages with employers, statistics about applications and documents that have been uploaded. Refined search filters will make it easier to track down specific positions and companies, and saved searches will alert students when new jobs are added that fall into their areas of interest. The system will also allow students to keep track of upcoming events, like career fairs or résumé workshops, and make it easy to set up interviews and correspond with potential employers all in one place.

So far, students have generally approved of the system changes. Mike Karolewski, a junior combined math and economics major and executive vice president of SGA, had the opportunity to test the career development side of the portal two weeks ago.

“Based on my own experiences with COOL and looking for co-ops, I do find it to be kind of cumbersome,” Karolewski said. “It takes a lot of time to go through and find what you’re looking for. It’s easy to lose different things in the process.”

Karolewski found the new system to be much more organized than the current one.

“I think it’s going to be helpful for all parties involved,” he said. “Everything is a lot more centralized. It’s very easy to navigate. It really has everything to do with the process in one central location.”

Photo by Scotty Schenck